Quite often, however, spouses are unable or unwilling to come to an agreement on issues and assets involved in a high-net-worth divorce, so they may embark on the process of asking a judge to make the decisions for them. Regardless of whether it’s a single issue, or on all issues, when a disagreement exists, the court considers the divorce “contested”.
In a contested divorce proceeding, evidence will play a pivotal role in determining the outcome of your case. For that reason, it’s critical your Houston high-asset divorce attorney has access to all pertinent information and resources to help guide your case.
What Kind of Evidence Do You Need for a Divorce Involving Lots of Assets?
In Texas high-asset divorces, there are different forms of evidence able to be introduced in contested divorce proceedings and include:
- Written Evidence. Documentation available in paper or electronic format fits under the category of written evidence. This evidence is typically given to your attorney prior to divorce filing or early in the process. In discovery, written evidence may also be introduced into your case and includes interrogatories and document requests.
- Oral Evidence. Information coming through spoken word is considered oral evidence. This includes testimony of either party, witnesses, experts, and others called to testify. Statements made in connection with a deposition can also be introduced as oral evidence.
Texas Rules of Evidence states that all written and oral evidence is admissible in court during divorce proceedings if it is relevant and does not contravene other federal or state law.
Where Evidence Plays a Role in a High-Asset Divorce
Different types of evidence will play an important role in a contested divorce. Under a contested divorce, property division may be one of the initial concerns that arise, and your attorney will determine whether what is presented can be categorized under community property or subject to equitable distribution.
Property acquired before marriage, gifts, and inheritance belong to the respective spouse, whereas community property can be divided in a contested divorce proceeding. Evidence that helps determine asset ownership, value, and time it was acquired will prove invaluable in a contested divorce.
When spousal support is needing to be determined, a judge will assess what type of spousal support is fitting to the situation and the amount to be paid by the spouse. The court will look to access evidence from:
- Income and wages;
- Education and employment potential for the lower-earning spouse;
- History of a spouse that contributed to the household and children while out of the workforce;
- Opportunities a spouse was unable to pursue to support the other including through education and employment.
How Evidence Can Help Determine Custody in a High-Asset Divorce
Under circumstances where minor children are involved, the court will access evidence that supports the child’s best interests in order to determine custody and visitation schedules. Evidence related to parents’ income and assets will factor significantly in determining child support guidelines. This includes evidence pertaining to:
- Assessment of the mental and physical fitness of each parent;
- Current and future needs of the child;
- Dangers to a child associated with potential abuse and violence;
- Stability of a proposed living arrangement;
- Factors that fall within the Texas statute.
Our Houston High-Net-Worth Divorce Attorneys Protect Your Assets and Interests
While the assumption that a contested divorce will have to go through litigation, an agreement on certain issues may be possible. Evidence factors heavily in the negotiations process, and parties may be open to compromise when the broader picture is evaluated.
When the time comes to advance to a hearing or final trial, written evidence will be presented as exhibits, while oral evidence will be offered through testimony. The judge in the case will review all evidence and apply Texas laws to enter a ruling and offer a conclusion to the contested divorce.
High-asset divorces and high-conflict custody cases require an experienced legal team. Serving Houston families, the Law Offices of Douglas Ray York, P.C. are dedicated advocates and experienced attorneys offering practical advice, as well as ethical and aggressive representation.